Port of Oswego Receives $4 Million Grant for Grain Loading Improvements

The Port of Oswego in New York will soon receive $5 million—a $4 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and $1 million in local investment—to purchase a telescopic ship loader conveyer. According to the CEO of the Port of Oswego Authority, the state-of-the-art ship loading conveyor will raise the port’s ship loading speed from 18,000 bushels per hour to at least 30,000 bushels per hour.

The grant will also be used to upgrade the port’s existing railroad track. As currently configured, the port’s grain silo can process only two coupled railcars at a time. The upgraded track will allow six coupled railcars to be processed simultaneously. The port will also add a new 1,250-foot-long storage track. Served by CSX Transportation, the Port of Oswego is the only port on Lake Ontario.

Since the Port of Oswego opened its grain export center in 2021, its grain exports have risen. In 2022, its outbound grain—via ship or rail—was 72,000 tons.

New Publication Highlights Insurance Risks for Global Bulk Grain Shipments

The Swedish Club, a mutual marine insurance company, recently detailed the most common cargo claims for bulk grain movements around the world. Based on analysis of 200 bulk grain carrier insurance claims from 2018 to 2022, 63t related to “shortage” complaints, which concerned a shortfall in the quantity of grain received at the discharging port, compared to the quantity of grain measured at the loading port. The Swedish Club’s authors note that roughly 70% of shortage claims were “paper” shortages: these resulted from discrepancies between the vessel’s figures and shore figures, rather than loss of actual grain during the voyage due to damage, theft, leakages, etc.

In addition to statistical analysis, the authors cover ventilation and fumigation techniques, advise on ways to prevent cargo damage, and provide case studies based on past grain carrier insurance claims.

Rising Beer Imports and Barley Exports Boost Grain Transportation

A recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service highlights imported beer from Mexico, as one of several rising U.S. agricultural imports from Latin America and the Caribbean. The world’s largest beer exporter, Mexico, is also the main source for U.S. imported beer: from 2007-09 to 2019-21, the annual average of imports from Mexico doubled from 1.6 billion to 3.2 billion liters.

U.S. imports of Mexican beer have grown in tandem with U.S. exports of malt barley to Mexico. According to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, malt barley exports to Mexico were nearly 400,000 metric tons in 2021—up 85% from 2011.

About 80% of U.S. barley is grown in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota—in areas less suitable for corn and soybeans. Most barley is malted before it is shipped—by truck and rail—to breweries, including those in Mexico. Most Mexico-manufactured beer is shipped by rail into the United States, and a smaller share is shipped by truck and ocean vessel.

Looking Ahead

Ethanol Production in 2023 and 2024

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) August 2023 ShortTerm Energy Outlook, consumption of fuel ethanol blended into motor gasoline will average 930,000 barrels per day in 2023 and 2024, up from 910,000 barrels in 2022. EIA projects ethanol production will average 1 million barrels per day in 2023 (unchanged from 2022) and 1.01 million barrels per day in 2024. According to USDA’s September 2023 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, from marketing year (MY) 2022/23 to MY 2023/24, corn use for ethanol is projected to increase 2%.

Ethanol Exports for 2023 and 2024

Because of persistently high corn and gasoline prices, the historically high per unit ethanol export price in FY4 2022 extended through FY 2023. Canada is expected to remain the top buyer for U.S. ethanol exports in 2023, as Quebec and Ontario drive much of the country’s CFR-mandated rising fuel use.5 India’s ethanol imports are projected to be around 106 million gallons in calendar year 2023 (down from 2022), as greater domestic production is expected to support industrial and beverage demand.

At 1.4 billion gallons, the FY 2024 export volume is forecast to rise 11 percent from FY 2023, because of lower forecasted U.S. corn prices. The low corn prices are expected to lower ethanol prices, thus boosting U.S. ethanol’s competitiveness and raising the quantity demanded for ethanol transportation. Brazil is expected to remain competitive and may potentially limit U.S. export expansion. Also, in FY 2024 (as in FY 2023), Canada is expected to remain a top buyer of U.S. ethanol exports, accounting for up to half of the overall rise in U.S. exports. Exports to Brazil may recover somewhat, but probably only slightly by historical standards.

For more information, visit www.ams.usda.gov.